Educational psychology in higher education


The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant move to remote learning in 2020-2021 paved the way for deeper conversations about assessment practices in higher education. Over the last two years, there have been an increasing number of discussions about alternative assessments and about equity in assessment. This study examined the impact of a course (entitled “Equity in Assessment”) delivered by the authors on the participants’ understandings of equity and assessment. We used semi-structured interviews to collect data from the participants. Data collected from six interviews were systematically and thematically analysed in line with Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six stages of conducting thematic analyses. The data analysis resulted in three main emergent themes: flexibility, academic rigour, and wellness. The implications of the findings of this project are important for educational developers, institutional leadership, and researchers.

Practitioner Notes

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic and shift to remote teaching has substantially influenced increasing awareness, inquiry, and practice around equity in assessment within higher education institutions.
  2. With this substantial growth in recognition of the importance of equitable assessment, university instructors are eager to engage in equitable assessment practices, which often means that they do so within a system that is at times incompatible with equitable teaching and learning.
  3. Challenges with this include resistance from other faculty members and leadership, catering to large and diverse classes, increasing workload demands, the investment of increased time and resources, lack of institutional support and community, and adverse effects on instructor well-being.
  4. Implications suggest that more pan-university conversations around understanding equitable assessment should be prioritized, enhanced supports for instructors should be available, more opportunities for communal discussion and collaboration between instructors is required, and far more general support at the institutional level is necessitated.

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